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Education in Diversity – Diversity in Education: Students with Visual Disabilities in the Sultanate of Oman
In this article, disability and its interplay with gender in the Sultanate of Oman are explored. Previous research on this issue in Oman has been conducted adopting a medical model. Consequently, the interrelations between the individual and wider society in relation to disability have only been marginally researched. This research, however, explores the interrelation of disability and gender and the co-construction of their meanings for students with visual disabilities. In comparison with other studies – particularly in the Arabian Gulf, where disability is often explored from the standpoint of caregivers, politicians, etc. – this research specifically strives to include disabled students’ views and social experiences. Moreover, the interplay between educational, religious, and cultural practices is analyzed. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered at the only state-run school for students with visual disabilities in the capital area. The sample is balanced by gender and comprises 30 students aged 14–23, as well as one key religious figure and one representative of a non-governmental organization. The study shows that despite investments and awareness-raising campaigns, various forms of social practice exist that construct and reconstruct the meanings of disability and gender. Additionally, it is revealed that there is a political need to initiate a relational model of gender and disability to further improve the situation for students with disability in Oman.
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